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Morocco’s Fehd Benchemsi, when Gnawa becomes Gnawest in Los Angeles  

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Moroccan actor and singer Fehd Benchemsi playing Gnawa music in LA. / DR

To Moroccans, he is a renowned actor who starred in several Moroccan movies and series. Recently, Moroccan star Fehd Benchemsi moved to Los Angeles to give his acting career a new impetus in Hollywood and also reveal some of his other hidden talents.

In LA, Benchemsi is all about the Gnawa music, playing Guembri, a three stringed skin-covered bass plucked lute used by the Gnawa people. He performs there as «Gnawest», marrying Gnawi songs with western music, wrote Panora Post in one of its recent articles on the singer/ actor.

Noticed by Flight of Voices, a community of solo artists that play music together, Benchemsi was asked to perform with them in five of their concerts, Panora Post said. Amazed by his music and with the help of producer Khalid Naitzehou, Benchamsi and Flight of Voices formed a Jazz and Gnawa fusion band they called «Fehd Benchemsi and friends». Together, they bring together Gnawa and Jazz, with instruments like the piano and the trumpet.

In addition to his music, Benchemsi is scorping points in the movie industry. In 2018, he starred in American television miniseries «The Looming Tower» alongside movie stars Jeff Daniels and Tahar Rahim, according to his IMDb biography. In 2017, he played a role in «The Yellow Birds», an American war film. In 2015, he played in Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper next to Bradley Cooper and Nicole Kidman.

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